Rising food prices affecting local food pantry

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Things like canned goods used to be the easiest item for volunteers at Clay Church to give those in need, but now with price increases and their usual suppliers not even having items in stock volunteers say they’re having to find other items to keep up with demand ahead of the holidays.

“I think it’s a real problem coming up. We’re seeing shortages now within the food bank," said volunteer, Deb Nicholson.

Nicholson has been volunteering at Clay Church’s food pantry for years, but she says this holiday season is prepping to be the most difficult and busiest she’s ever seen.

“A lot of the items that we have we’re running short on or we don’t have at all anymore," said Nicholson.

At the height of the pandemic the pantry was serving over 100 families. According to Director of Missions, Sue Zumbrun, those numbers are going up. Reaching 200 just this week.

“Today was an exceptionally busy day and you sense a despair from the people that you wait on. A little bit less happy. You can tell that the stress of the economics is starting to affect people," said Zumbrun.

With increasing numbers from both need and prices, the pantry has had to adjust offerings for items like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and personal care items.

“We’re caught cutting back a little bit. Making some changes based on the fact that we’re paying more for the things that we do have to have," said volunteer, Jean Women.

Despite the adjustments to their budget, volunteers say donations and the dedication to help others as a team has allowed them to overcome the obstacles so far.

“It has changed a lot as far as the way we are able to share for the holidays, but we will definitely do it one way or the other. We’ll figure it out," said Women.

The pantry is open Mondays from 12-3 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


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